Recital and festival season is upon us, and our students have been preparing their selected pieces for the past few weeks! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned performer, memorizing a piece is something we all have to do to be performance ready. There are a lot of different approaches to memorization, so we have tips from a few of our teachers!
Memorize WHILE you learn the piece not AFTER you learn the piece.
Four types of memory (you should have ALL of them):
1) aural - can you sing it?
2) physical - can you play with your eyes closed? Do you have articulation marks and dynamic marks memorized?
3) visual - can you find where your hands should be on the keyboard? Can you see the music in your mind?
4) conceptual - do you know the theory behind all the notes? Do you have a story or narrative to tell?
Use post-it notes to cover each measure of the piece that is memorized. Soon, the whole piece will be covered!
Memorize as you learn, starting with small chunks (maybe a couple of measures or one phrase). Being able to hear it in your mind or sing it out loud is important! Once you can do this, try playing one hand and singing/hearing the other part simultaneously, then switch. Make sure you know where your articulation and dynamic marks are before practicing without the music, as it’s much harder in my opinion to go back and add them in.
Memorize small sections of your piece one at a time. Sometimes it’s even fun to mix up the sections and not go in order! Do one section each day and plan out which sections you will memorize each day you sit down to practice. This gives you a goal to work towards and a plan to make it happen! Another fun thing to try is to put the music behind you, maybe on a chair, and when you get stuck, turn around, look at it, and then get right back on the piano. Before you know it, you've got your whole piece memorized!